A central tenant of an appreciative perspective on entrepreneurship is recognition and understanding of the complex situations in which entrepreneurs as decision-makers find themselves. Different approaches to entrepreneurship and decision-making must be taken in different situations. In the next four essays we describe four styles of entrepreneurship and relate each style to seven environmental characteristics. These four styles of entrepreneurship—assertive, inspiring, thoughtful and participating —represent quite different notions about the purposes, functions and values associated with making decisions in today’s organizations. Each style must be fully appreciated if an E² Theory is to be successfully employed—for each approach plays an important role in most closely-held enterprises.
Each of the styles builds on a distinctive set of assumptions about ways in which one can be effective in making decisions in an organization and each has proven successful in some settings and unsuccessful in others. Some entrepreneurs fit comfortably into one or two of these styles; others can move rather easily between all four (although most people retain one approach that seems most natural and comfortable).